Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ella is a AWESOME -- and so is Zoe!!

What a day yesterday was.
A day I had been uneasily anticipating
and ready for it to be over with before it even began.
Everything turned out really well though,
from our 'Silly Breakfast' of jello, juice and popsicles . . . 

 . . . to getting weighed (27.5 pounds),
putting on the purple hospital pajamas,
pink socks (and getting an extra pair for Zoe)
and trying out the gas mask (and getting an extra one for Zoe).

It was very strange only having Ella with us, but nice to have that extra time with her exclusively; while Zoe was a trooper in her own rights, back home with Grama Dianne.  There were no tears when we left, lots of hugs and lots of 'I love you Ella - I love you Zoe',
and then Zoe and Grama just hung out together,
like two best friends on vacation : )
They even planted these flowers for the girls' tree house flower box.

We were at the hospital for about an hour and a half before Ella's surgery began, but the time actually went by quickly.  Zoe and Ella talked on the phone for a little bit, very short and sweet.
Zoe said 'I miss you Ella'
and Ella said 'I miss you Zoe'.

Ella and Tom had time for some deep conversations . . . 

 . . .  while Ella and I got silly together.

Children's Hospital has a policy that only one parent can bring the child to the operating room, so Tom and I decided I would do that part (which is why I was wearing the 'nurses clothes', as Ella called them, in the above pics).

So when it was time, I walked into the operating room carrying Ella and the nurse anesthetist had me sit on a stool.  She put Ella's mask on (with Ella's requested ORANGE-flavored chapstick layered on the inside) and one of the other anesthesiologists sat down and started to tell Ella a very silly, mixed up fairy tale.  Ella was so into how the Princess told the Three Billy Goats Gruff 'not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin' and tried really hard to keep her eyes open, but the medicine did it's job and she fell in a deep sleep very quickly.

The hardest part for me was placing her on the operating table
and walking away.
At that moment my arms felt so empty.

A little less than an hour later Dr. H came into the waiting room and filled us in on the surgery.  I was really hoping Tom was catching all the details because all I heard was 'she did really well and is in recovery now'.  Apparently Tom felt the same way because all he heard was 'she did really well' too.  Ella will have a follow-up ultrasound appointment in 4 weeks, so we'll learn more details then, but like I said in my post from last night, we are hopeful that the deflux procedure worked for Ella and that she'll only have to be on her medicine for one more week.

 After Dr. H left we waited some more until one of the nurses came and told us Ella was on her way to her own room.  Just as we entered the hallway another nurse was bringing Ella out of recovery.
She was really doped up, a bit confused, didn't feel great and was still very sleepy -- and she looked so small on the kid-size gurney.
My heart melted.

Once we got settled in her room all she wanted was to be held by me.
Lucky, lucky, lucky me : )
I wrapped her up, she snuggled in and everything felt just *right*.
The best part for me?  Holding Ella in my arms for almost an hour and a half while she slept.  Sounds corny, but I felt complete again.  

It also reminded me of when I would hold the girls in the NICU,
although with having twins I don't think I ever held one for that long at one time because I always had the other baby to take care of too.  I wish Ella had not needed to have this surgery at all, that she didn't have kidney reflux.  But that one-on-one time I had with her sure was a sweet perk of the day : )

Ella did get puffy from all the fluids they pumped into her
and had a little reaction to one of the meds (not a big deal),
which is why her face was so flushed.  

When she woke up the nurse brought her apple juice and a popsicle.
She wouldn't talk at first and still seemed dazed.

When she had one bite left of her popsicle she told us
in a very husky voice that her throat hurt (from the tubes)
and whimpered a little.
The IV didn't bug her though
and she didn't really pay much attention to it.

We called Zoe and Grama up again and though she didn't talk
she did smile when Zoe said 'I love you Ella'.

Then she started to perk up and act more like her usual self.
And she drank more apple juice and snuggled with Dad.

Discharge took longer than it should have because there was a mix-up with Ella's name (they had three 'Ella's' in surgery that day).  But when we finally got home, this is what greeted us near the front door:  A 'Welcome Home Ella' sign
handmade by Zoe Dianne and Grama Dianne : )
Zoe was so excited to see Ella and give her a hug,
and then she showed her the googly eyes she put on her sign.
And the hearts she made because she loves her.

We were also greeted by a very happy Zoe
and a very relieved Grama Dianne.

And of course, before bedtime Zoe had to try on her blue hat . . . 

. . .  and pink socks . . . 

. . . and cuddle with her sister.

Until Ella was ready for her long day to end.

Yup, yesterday was quite the day for our family.  But it was only one day, and it ended well.  Those of you who have experienced time at a hospital know there is a lot of waiting involved, and a lot of thinking time too -- and I couldn't help but think about all the families whose time in hospitals is a lot longer and a lot harder because they have really sick or injured children.  We're the lucky ones and I know that.  Now I need to work on remembering that when my two healthy daughters are driving me batty,
I'm ready for bedtime
and it isn't even time for dinner yet  : )

So today we're taking it easy while Ella recuperates, even though she insists she's not sick.  And we're listening to her tell Zoe about different random things that happened during her big day yesterday.  And we're listening to Zoe tell Ella about when it's going to be her turn to have surgery (even though she's not scheduled for any sort of surgery), and that she might be a little scared but not a lot  . . .   and there is some fussing and crying, but nothing that we can't handle.

Thanks again for all of the messages and emails!

Today's Update:  Ella did wake with a low-grade fever but it went down after her tylenol kicked in, and we're keeping an eye on that.  She is peeing (and it hurts) and there still is a little blood, but the pain and the blood is less than yesterday -- so she's definitely on the mend.  I think the worst part for her will not being able to jump off the bench or get too crazy on her swingset/play area for a few days.  But again, it's nothing we can't handle : )

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We're Home

Just got the girls tucked into bed -- and I'm ready to crawl into mine.

But we're HOME and Ella is doing well.  She's tired and sore, but such a trooper.  Zoe had a fantastically fun day with Grama Dianne, so things are good on that end too.  

Ella and Zoe are happy to be together again and Tom and I are soooo happy that things went as well as they did.  I'll post more details tomorrow with some cute pics, but we feel real hopeful that the deflux procedure worked.

Really, really, really appreciate all the messages and thoughts sent our way.  Means so much.


Today is the Day

Ella's surgery is today and I am feeling very anxious and nervous, actually sick to my stomach.  I know everything is going to be just fine, but still . . .   even though I'm predicting a fussy and crabby little girl later this afternoon I can't wait to just hold her and know this part is over with.

Thanks so much to those who have left messages (on our blog, on my FB page and via the phone and email), those sorts of warm thoughts and positives always makes a person feel good : )

Will update later today, once we're HOME and settled in.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I ♥ Faces -- At the Beach

It's another week at I Faces, and the theme is:  At the Beach!!

The photo I chose is from last summer.
Ella and Zoe really thought they were 'swimming'
and were having so much fun.
I love Ella's frog legs and Zoe's curled up tongue.

So take a break from YOUR time at the beach,
and stop by to see more fun photos.
 : )  Jeremi

Thanks Elise, for helping me learn more editing tips on Picnik.  XXOO ~ J

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ella's Kidneys: Update

Ella's surgery for her kidney reflux has been changed to next Wednesday, July 29th (rather than August 5th).  She had her pre-op this morning and passed with flying colors, and I talked with the admit person at Children's Hospital this afternoon to get some final information -- so we're all set.  

We have to be at the hospital at 11:15am and surgery will start at 12:45.  This means only clear liquids for breakfast and nothing after 9am.  Not looking forward to that part, but we're going to have a 'Silly Party' for breakfast, so hopefully the novelty of having popsicles and apple juice will help : )  I think we're even going to try and make ballet class as another distraction, but we'll see.  

If everything goes as planned the surgery itself should take about an hour, and once Ella starts to wake up (in recovery) Tom and I will be with her.  After that they'll move her to her room, and if everything continues to go well she'll be discharged around dinnertime.

Last week I started talking a little about all of this, with both Ella and Zoe.  I briefly mentioned Ella's kidneys (which we've discussed many times before) and told her she was going to go to the hospital and have an operation, and that Dr. H was going to fix her kidneys so they work the way they're supposed to.  Her response?  'But mama, I am not sick!'.  I reassured her the surgery was to help make sure she does not get sick and that afterwards she wouldn't have to take her medicine each night, which made sense to her, but she still questions it time to time.  

Zoe's response to hearing that she would stay home with Grama Dianne while Tom, Ella and I are at the hospital?  'Oh no, I want to go with so I can hold Ella's hand!'.  Awwwww.  They are truly so protective of each other : )  But now Zoe is excited because Grampa Lindy will be coming too, and she knows the three of them are going to do special things together, and that once Ella gets home she'll be able to cuddle with her then.

Zoe did get a chance to hold Ella's hand though.  At her pre-op Ella had to have blood drawn and Zoe assigned herself as Ella's protector and the nurses assistant.  Ella told me she wanted to sit in the chair by herself, so she did.  And Zoe stood right next to her, said 'it's okay Ella', and then held her hand during the whole blood draw.  Ella made quite the face when the needle was put in, and said 'That HURT', but didn't cry.  Whew.  Both girls were fascinated by the blood going in the tube, and were also thrilled that they got bandaides afterwards (Zoe too).  I was thrilled I didn't faint (I am so not good with that kind of stuff), but was really glad it was a positive experience for both girls.

Children's Hospital also sent a DVD for us to watch, which has been really helpful.  It's only a little over 4 minutes long but the girls have asked to watch it over and over again.  It gives a matter-of-fact description of what will happen during different parts of a hospital stay, in an almost fun and playful way, and the 'host' of the show is a little pig puppet.  Total hit.

So, like I said, I think we're as set as we can be.  I purchased a few little gifts for each girl to give to them before and after surgery.  I'm also going to make a little photo album for each of them, with pictures of each other (thanks for the idea, mom).  But I do think we have a little case of 'Madeline' going on over here.  Remember the part in the story where Madeline gets her appendix out and the other little girls see her scar from surgery?  And how that night they all wake up saying they need their appendix out also?  Zoe has told me a few times now that her kidneys need help too, and that she needs to have surgery just like Ella.  And that she might be a little scared but that she won't cry.  And that she wants watermelon chapstick on her gas mask, just like the pig chose in the hospital video.  Ella said she wants the watermelon chapstick too, so I hope they have that one in stock on the 29th.

In the meantime, Ella and Zoe are busy playing in the sand,



and eating popsicles, just because it's hot outside : )

Thursday, July 23, 2009

After Ballet . . .

. . .  we went to a library program featuring musician Ross
(think Woody Guthrie style -- it was awesome) who sang songs,
played a variety of instruments and invited the kids to join right in.

That's exactly what Ella did during the 'Where is Thumbkin?' song.
Zoe cheered Ella on from the safety of my lap, but sang along too.
It was pretty neat.

These 'small moments' really make stop and think about how blessed I am.
Many years ago it was hard to imagine that some day I might be watching
my own child sing in front of a group of people
while my other child snuggled in my lap.
I really like how things turned out.

Ross also made up songs, and one verse was about the 'two little girls with the blue tutus and flowers in their hair' -- although he somehow got everything to rhyme.  E and Z were pretty wide-eyed when they realized he was singing about them.

I didn't catch that on video, but I did record this
(it's not the best quality but it sure makes me smile):
Ella Live

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ballet #6

*The girls had ballet this morning*

They're coming along with both technique . . .  

. . . and grace.

Ella is still drawn to the mirror.

And Zoe takes in every word Ms. Zachari says.

But both ballerinas are doing a wonderful job . . . 

. . .  and having lots of fun!!

Just Because

Looking at the little feet from yesterday's post
made me miss my little babies.
So I spent some time last night looking at old photos.
Just had to share.

Zoe and Ella ~ 4 Months

Monday, July 20, 2009

I ♥ Faces -- We ♥ Feet

The theme this week at I Faces is FEET!!
I have been waiting for this one,
and knew exactly which picture I would use.

It was taken when Ella and Zoe were around 3-4 months old,
during 'The Summer of Baby Love' (also known as 'The Summer of No Sleep').  I don't remember which baby is with Tom, though I think it was Zoe, but it could have been Ella.  

Tom had the idea for the photo -- I snapped the shot.

I miss those baby feet : )

Be sure to check out all the wonderful entries at
(and consider entering yourself!!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Climb, Swing, Slide, Jump & Play, Play, Play

We went to the Eagle's Nest again this weekend.
This time Tom was able to go too, and the girls were super excited.

Once we got there we had to buy socks ($2 a pair)
because I had forgotten the rule of not wearing shoes
and not being barefoot.
E and Z thought it was the best that they got to wear white tube socks.

It was such a successful outing.
The girls climbed like monkeys,
stuck together,
looked out for each other,
and tried even if it was hard.
I really love times like these.

And they're OFF . . . . 

When they are good they are so good and so much fun.
When they are naughty they literally can make me stop where I'm at and not have a clue what to say, but that is a totally different topic, and it didn't happen yesterday.

We left without any crying,
unlike our last visit where Ella nearly sobbed the whole way home.
They even hugged the exit gate 'Goodbye'.
Dorky but cute.

And then we went out for dinner at Snuffy's for dinner.
Pretty much a perfect way to spend a late Saturday afternoon.

After dinner Ella and Zoe showed me the barn swallow nest they saw with Tom when they were walking to pick up a movie.  They first noticed the big pile of bird poop on the sidewalk,
which was their clue to look up.

I'm just wondering how that mama swallow potty-trained
her four little birdies to not potty in the nest . . . 

Finally, Happy Birthday to Tom's sister Mary.
We hope you're having a really nice day.